…with the return of warm weather, now focusing on the 2012 elections. Yesterday, hundreds of protesters returned to Zuccotti Park in New York City for the six month anniversary of the beginning of the movement, leading to dozens of arrests when police broke up the demonstration.
“But as we walked up Broadway, a noise made us turn—just in time to see the same young man fall to the ground, curl into a ball, and to see a police officer raise his foot and stomp on him. The police quickly surrounded him, and livestreamers, photographers, and onlookers shouting “Shame” quickly surrounded the police, who dragged him to his feet and loaded him into a waiting van. The Guardian’s Ryan Devereaux told us that the young man was a Marine. So when I reached my apartment that night, it wasn’t exactly shocking to hear that the police had charged back into the park, arresting many. Gregg Levine reports that some occupiers remained, linking arms, in the park when the police declared it needed to be closed (some reported that they heard it was for “cleaning”, though that’s unverified). Twitter reports a broken jaw and a broken thumb among the injuries suffered as the cops charged in.”—
It’s shaping up to be a busy spring for Occupy. The movement born last year in a New York City park has come roaring back to life this week after a period of hibernation. It promises to be even livelier in weeks and months to come.
On Monday, according to the Sacramento Bee, a crowd numbering in the thousands, including Occupy protesters, converged on California’s capital to denounce soaring college tuition costs. Chanting “You’ll hear us out, or we’ll vote you out,” they tried to occupy the capitol rotunda. Some succeeded. In what the Bee called “a massive show of force,” 100 California Highway Patrol officers arrested 68.
Occupy is taking credit for the White House’s recent decision to move a May meeting G-8 leaders from Chicago, where Occupy and other groups had threatened protests, to safer and more remote Camp David. “We scored a victory, forcing them to retreat to the back woods of Maryland,” Andy Thayer, Occupier and spokesperson for the Coalition Against NATO/G-8, tells ABC News.
Protests still will be mounted, he says, against NATO, which has chosen not to flee Chicago and will meet there as planned. “There’ll be a mass march on the NATO summit,” says Thayer, “not only a march, but any number of other activities. It’s unclear whether it will be on the 19th or 20th. We will decide in the next few days.”
The Showdown in Chicago has turned into a G8 Backdown. In a stunning about-face, the Obama administration has moved the Chicago G8 summit to Camp David, an ultra-secure military base in rural Maryland. Despite the tough talk of anti-Occupy technology, ordinances and paramilitary preparations, this is perhaps the first time that a major world summit has been relocated due to anticipated protests. And with only two months left before the summit was to begin, the change of venues is clearly a humiliating decision and a surprising victory of the Occupy movement. The specter of 50,000 nonviolent occupiers flooding the windy city with a list of demands for the world’s political elites was apparently too powerful. The NATO summit will still be meeting in Chicago… for now at least.
Check out this take by Occupywallst.org on what could be the movement’s next steps and weigh in below on how you think Occupy should react to the G8 backdown.
The Group of 8 Summit, a meeting of the governments of the world’s eight largest economies, was supposed to convene in Chicago this May. For months, Occupy Chicago, international anti-war groups, Anonymous, and hundreds of allies have publicly planned to shut it down. Now, only two months before the meeting is scheduled to begin, U.S. President Barack Obama is moving the assembly of over 7,000 leaders from the world’s wealthiest governments to the Camp David presidential compound, located in rural Maryland near Washington, DC, one of the most secure facilities in the world. The Chicago Tribune reports that summit organizers are “stunned” by the news.
“In May, the United States looks forward to hosting the G-8 and NATO Summits. To facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G-8 partners, the president is inviting his fellow G-8 leaders to Camp David on May 18-19 for the G-8 Summit, which will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues.
“The president will then welcome NATO allies and partners to his hometown of Chicago for the NATO Summit on May 20-21, which will be the premier opportunity this year for the president to continue his efforts to strengthen NATO in order to ensure that the Atlantic Alliance remains the most successful alliance in history, while charting the way forward in Afghanistan.”
The 38th G8 summit was to be held in Chicago alongside the NATO summit. It would have been the first time since 1977 in London that the two organizations held meetings in the same city at the same time.
Chicago police estimated that 2,000 to 10,000 demonstrators were expected to show up for the overlapping G-8 and NATO summits. At least two major demonstrations were already planned for downtown during the summit, and organizers said they wanted to send crowds of marchers down Michigan Avenue in the middle of the day.
Meetings of leaders of international economic organizations like the G-8 have drawn violent large-scale protests for more than a decade.
Protests and other forms of activism will be stunted at Camp David, to say the least, but the Masters of the Universe are scared - that much is undeniable.
Join the Impact presented an Occupy Chicago teach-in Saturday, sharing information about how Occupy can become more inclusive of LGBT people and the way that the struggle for gay rights complements Occupy’s overall goals.
Twenty-two people attended the event, Out of the Closets into the Occupation, held at Occupy Chicago’s indoor headquarters at 500 W. Cermak in a loft space. The panelists spoke on three topics: LGBT-inclusive terminology, the history of LGBT oppression and then its connection to a capitalist society organized around the nuclear family.
One of the panelists, Ryne Poelker, spoke on the many ways that income inequality affects the LGBT community. He said despite the double-income-no-kids stereotype, teen homelessness, unequal healthcare access and employment discrimination are all problems facing the LGBT community that Occupy protesters can connect with.
“The majority of LGBT people are working class,” Poelker said. “They are not lawyers. They are not business people. It’s like women are depicted in Sex and the City. Those do not match the majority of lives of women”
An hour after Occupy DC protesters organized a rally outside Freddie Mac’s offices in downtown Washington, DC yesterday on behalf of a Maryland resident facing eviction, the mortgage giant announced that it had developed plan to keep her in her home.
Bertina Jones, of Prince George’s county, a suburb of DC, was “a perfect example of a woman who was making her payments, and they still foreclosed on her,” said Maryland Legal Aid Bureau’s Vicki King Taitano, who is helping Jones. Jones, a grandmother and accountant, got a mortgage modification in 2009 from Bank of America, “but the bank repeatedly lost the accompanying documents” and Freddie Mac bought the house at 2010 in a foreclosure auction.
so i'm really interested in actually protesting with occupy san francisco, but the problem is, i have NO IDEA when the damn protests are! i wanted to join the bart protests but i didn't know when they were until the same day, etc. do you ave any tips on how to find out before hand????
If you do not work, or you are unable to join a demonstration or march, do what i am going to do, telephone call centers and businesses and tell the person who answers to get the hell out of there and go the hell on strike already! Tell them to take their friends with them!
If many, many people do this, the event is likely to have an increased impact, with the bombardment of the individual worker with repeated messages from their fellow humans to respect this action.
To the Occupy Oakland family, all supporters of Occupy Oakland, and the larger Occupy Wall Street movement:
We are writing to appreciate everyone who has ever supported PEOPLE inside jails, prisons, and detention facilities throughout the country. We are also writing to ask for support from everyone planning to participate in February 20th National Day of Occupy in Support of Prisoners. PEOPLE in prisons – a nice name for cages – as well as formerly imprisoned PEOPLE, are one of the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in our society. We have been labeled as “offenders”, “criminals”, “convicts”, “ex-offenders”, “ex-cons”, and many other dehumanizing terms, and are scapegoated for causing society’s fundamental problems. We are PEOPLE, and not the labels they use. The real “criminals” are those who run Wall Street, who are responsible for genocide, racism, xenophobia, and all forms of discrimination. They lead the attacks against communities throughout America.
Feb 20th is a National Day to support PEOPLE inside cages who express their solidarity with the 99% and to support PEOPLE seeking social, economic, and other forms of justice. With the help of our supporters, allies, and larger communities, we aim to create a safe space to allow the voices of PEOPLE in captivity to be heard.
Many of us inside as well as out in the “free” world live by a code of conduct and support self-determination. We strive to build and follow leadership in our collective and public actions. We do not advance individual agendas over our collective needs. We further pledge to treat each other with respect and not allow differences to divide us, to accept responsibility for any acts that may have caused harm to our families, our communities or ourselves, and to play an active role in making our communities safe for everyone.
Seldom if ever, are people inside asked or given a safe space to tell their stories. The broader Occupy Oakland and general public need to know what is going on inside these cages, how the bottom of the 99% are treated by the 1%, and the need to meaningfully include people inside as we build our collective efforts.
We ask everyone reading these words to support our efforts to create a safe, secure and genuinely inclusive space for people inside, and to build a genuine role for their voices in the February 20th National Day of Occupy in Support of Prisoners. We do not want to create or exacerbate conditions that endanger anyone’s freedom. We know police have attacked our sisters and brothers at Occupy encampments all over the country. We ask everyone participating to remember that for many of us even a mass arrest could escalate to a parole violation and a return to prison. We also want to guarantee the safety of family members with loved ones inside because they are the lifeline for PEOPLE in cages.
We ask you to be our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers!
Formerly-Incarcerated People from All of Us or None and Occupy for Prisoners
The Brian Piccolo Specialty School in Humboldt Park, Chicago is currently Occupied by parents and students. Occupy Chicago and other allies are outside the building in solidarity and have set up an encampment. Around one hundred people are present and are taking shifts to ensure the safety of the occupation. The Chicago Teachers Union has expressed support for the action. Piccolo, an elementary school with a student body that is almost entirely from low income communities of color, is one of 16 Chicago public schools slated to be closed by Mayor Rahm’s service cuts to the poor.
As of 3:30AM Central Time, it is believed that Chicago Police have decided to leave and protesters have declared victory for Day 1 of Occupied Piccolo! If you are in Chicago, please come to 1040 North Keeler Avenue to show your support, and bring a tent! Follow #takebackourschools, #piccolo, @OccupyChicago and @TBOurSchoolsChi on Twitter.
The formation of an Occupy Wall Street super PAC by an activist in Decatur, Alabama is sparking a backlash from the movement’s organizers in Washington, D.C. and New York City.
This week activist John Paul Thornton opted to fight fire with fire, filing paperwork with the FEC to establish The Occupy Wall Street Political Action Committee, allowing it to raise unlimited corporate funds for federal candidates pledging to get money out of politics. The irony was not lost on a number of Occupy activists who’ve long protested the very existence of super PACs following the controversial 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court case.
“This caught us completely by surprise,” said Bill Csapo, an activist affiliated with the Campaign to Occupy Wall Street in New York. “I don’t think any of us would agree that a super PAC is the right way to go.”
Csapo, a volunteer organizer who handles communications for the the campaign, said he has contacted Thornton to change the name of the Occupy super PAC or else disassemble it completely. “Thornton has no connection whatsoever to Occupy Wall Street or the New York General Assembly,” insisted Csapo.
He added that Occupy Wall Street organizers in New York City planned to issue a statement on OccupyWallSt.org to officially condemn the use of super PACs.
Occupy Wall Street has been a decentralized, populist movement. While PACs and soft money are the most effective way to impact policy, I don’t think PACs quite fit what Occupy Wall Street had in mind.
Little did Willie Nelson know when he recorded “Crazy” years ago just how crazy it would become for our cherished family farmers in America. Nelson, President of Farm Aid, has recently called for the national Occupy movement to declare an “Occupy the Food System” action.
Nelson states, “Corporate control of our food system has led to the loss of millions of family farmers, destruction of our soil…”
Hundreds of citizens… joined Occupy the Food System groups, ie Food Democracy Now, gathered outside the Federal Courts in Manhattan on January 31st, to support organic family farmers in their landmark lawsuit against Big Agribusiness giant Monsanto…
The lawsuit addresses the bizarre and shocking issue of Monsanto harassing and threatening organic farmers with lawsuits of “patent infringement” if any organic farmer ends up with any trace amount of GM seeds on their organic farmland.
This week, Occupy Our Homes, an outgrowth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, successfully helped a 78 year-old former civil rights activist in Atlanta stay in her home, after she was threatened with foreclosure by JP Morgan Chase (while the bank was simultaneouslytouting its commitment to the values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). Meanwhile, in Detroit, Occupy Our Homes has successfully prevented four foreclosures and is locked in on a fifth, as Michigan Radio reports:
The “Occupy our Homes” movement has taken up the cause of Fred Shrum, another homeowner facing foreclosure in Metro Detroit.
The group is a coalition of anti-foreclosure groups, organized labor, and other activists with the Detroit “Occupy” movement.
So far, their protests on behalf of people facing foreclosure have helped keep four Metro Detroit families in their homes—including one case where protesters blocked a dumpster that came to clear out the house.
Those families were able to re-negotiate terms with their lenders.
Now, the group wants to help Shrum. The Dearborn Heights homeowner sought a mortgage modification when he had to take a pay cut and undergo surgery. But after what he calls a long and confusing back-and-forth with mortgage servicer Wells Fargo, Shrum didn’t get the modification–and now faces eviction.
In cities as far apart as Atlanta, Rochester, and Cleveland, Occupy protesters have prevented foreclosures, which are starting to pick back up again across he country. Foreclosures increased by 8 percent last month, with extremely steep jumps in some states. The New York Federal Reserve has estimated that 3.6 million foreclosures will take place over the next two years.